How often do you use presets?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
memes_33
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Re: How often do you use presets?

Post by memes_33 » Tue May 13, 2014 10:57 pm

one sweeping generalization i can make about electronic music producers is they usually fall into one of two categories: those who are geared more towards sound design and those are are more geared towards melody/harmony/etc. those of us who are more about melody/harmony/etc will usually start with presets to get things going. the sound designer folks prefer to craft and tweak their sounds so by the time they get to the actual implementation, the patch or whatever is pretty much mapped out.
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eddiex
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Re: How often do you use presets?

Post by eddiex » Wed May 14, 2014 3:09 am

i use presets a lot....but i effect the hell out them. ain't no shame.
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Machinesworking
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Re: How often do you use presets?

Post by Machinesworking » Wed May 14, 2014 3:43 am

I mostly don't use presets, but, and this is important to keep in mind for the purists, I often start from one.
Only when I made presets for Urs Zebra 1 and Filter scape did I start from scratch.

I don't think it's a sin to use presets, but there is one at least to remain anonymous German industrial band that uses presets so much that it's blaring-ly obvious, that kinda can ruin a song for fellow musicians at the very least.

jestermgee
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Re: How often do you use presets?

Post by jestermgee » Wed May 14, 2014 5:14 am

I find that a LOT of the composers doing music for a lot of discovery channel programs use a lot of preset stuff. I've heard quite a few preset sounds from Native Instruments, Omnisphere, Zeta etc. I love testing out the capabilities of synths with presets because as much as I would like to think i'm not too bad many presets are crafted by people that actually know what they are doing. I'm happy to leave the harder work to the professionals and use their knowledge as a starting point for sure.

Preset Schmeset...

eyeknow
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Re: How often do you use presets?

Post by eyeknow » Wed May 14, 2014 5:26 am

And you know, I absolutely LOVE listening to that stuff :mrgreen:

deva
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Re: How often do you use presets?

Post by deva » Wed May 14, 2014 6:06 am

I use presets all the time... My own ;-)

Machinesworking
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Re: How often do you use presets?

Post by Machinesworking » Wed May 14, 2014 6:18 am

jestermgee wrote:I find that a LOT of the composers doing music for a lot of discovery channel programs use a lot of preset stuff. I've heard quite a few preset sounds from Native Instruments, Omnisphere, Zeta etc. I love testing out the capabilities of synths with presets because as much as I would like to think i'm not too bad many presets are crafted by people that actually know what they are doing. I'm happy to leave the harder work to the professionals and use their knowledge as a starting point for sure.

Preset Schmeset...
Actually this is a huge reason not to overdo it with presets. Consciously or unconsciously the connection is made between the by repetition, relatively bland, every day sounds emanating from TV.

It's all up to the individual of course, but the downside is that connection to background music.

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Re: How often do you use presets?

Post by re:dream » Wed May 14, 2014 7:49 am

But that is also a reason FOR using presets, when you know what you are doing.

Put it this way. Sounds have meanings, have associations. When you hear the sound of a saxophone & a double bass, associations are evoked. Ditto for presets: a bouncy 1990s clubby bassline, a skrillex wubbbasss.... . Consciously using those associations is part of the art of cleverly using your sounds...

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Re: How often do you use presets?

Post by jestermgee » Wed May 14, 2014 8:21 am

I guess it depends what you want to achieve.

For the backing music for TV shows for instance, who is going to invest their best time and effort for some cheezy show or boring doco (I like boring docos as I am a nerd). Whip up a heap of preset mush, push out 10 tracks a week, make money. Nothing wrong with that. When I notice something from one of the instruments I use or sample packs I have I don't decide "That cheat, what a lazy ass, that's an omnisphere patch" I think more like "Hey cool, he has Omnisphere too and they managed to actually make something work. I should go and crank some shit out on that".

The other thing is that almost every second person "makes music" these days, me included and probably all of you, I am sure some make music. The only ones that will really know you are using a preset are the ones ALSO using the same instruments. Rarely will your general non-music creating person hear the same sound in 2 different songs and say "wait a minute, what's all this about then...".

Reminds me of an old friend that would hate any music any of us made that included samples we did not record ourselves. This was back in the mid 90s and in his mind it was cheating if you used samples from another song or from the net. Most of his tracks were very abstract but he thought they were great and original and use to wonder why no one else liked them. Point is that even if you build an instrument from scratch, learn it, record it and do everything the "pure" way it doesn't mean it will be "better".

A preset sound is different (IMO) though than a preset pattern or loop which has the whole content already played out and all you do is loop together. I'd much rather here an artist make 10 tracks all with completely different preset sounds that all sound different and interesting than 10 tracks all created with the same "hand crafted" toolbox of sounds AKA Deadmau5e AKA Benny Benassi etc.

At the end of the day, Preset Schmeset.

kovaxx
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Re: How often do you use presets?

Post by kovaxx » Wed May 14, 2014 1:10 pm

I probably sample more than I use VSTs at the moment and I don't think anyone should be ashamed or guilty for using samples or presets, I use Omnisphere a lot the sound library on it is enormous and some of the sounds are insanely good!

Most of my basslines come from samples, 808 kick drums and the like, layered 2 or 3 times all EQ'd differently and compressed to fuck with a vintage warmer on the group.

Mutekki and Vengeance sample packs are unreal and you can manipulate the sample in ableton so it doesn't even sound like the original product anymore!

Go for it man, be creative with samples and presets!!!

kovaxx.

ImNotDedYet
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Re: How often do you use presets?

Post by ImNotDedYet » Wed May 14, 2014 3:09 pm

This is what I'm starting to do: find a preset I like, open a new instance of the synth, re-create the sound using the settings in the preset so I actually learn how the sound is formed. From there, I can know which things to tweak to affect the sound I want it tweaked. Not to mention, I learn a bit more about synthesis and that synth's sounds in particular. It doesn't take a whole lot more time than using the preset itself - in my experience, finding the right preset takes me longer than replicating the sound and figuring out which parameters are doing what to make the sound.

Airyck
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Re: How often do you use presets?

Post by Airyck » Wed May 14, 2014 4:18 pm

ImNotDedYet wrote:This is what I'm starting to do: find a preset I like, open a new instance of the synth, re-create the sound using the settings in the preset so I actually learn how the sound is formed. From there, I can know which things to tweak to affect the sound I want it tweaked. Not to mention, I learn a bit more about synthesis and that synth's sounds in particular. It doesn't take a whole lot more time than using the preset itself - in my experience, finding the right preset takes me longer than replicating the sound and figuring out which parameters are doing what to make the sound.
This seems like a great learning exercise!
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Re: How often do you use presets?

Post by re:dream » Thu May 15, 2014 7:56 pm

Airyck wrote:
ImNotDedYet wrote:This is what I'm starting to do: find a preset I like, open a new instance of the synth, re-create the sound using the settings in the preset so I actually learn how the sound is formed. From there, I can know which things to tweak to affect the sound I want it tweaked. Not to mention, I learn a bit more about synthesis and that synth's sounds in particular. It doesn't take a whole lot more time than using the preset itself - in my experience, finding the right preset takes me longer than replicating the sound and figuring out which parameters are doing what to make the sound.
This seems like a great learning exercise!
as they say in the old country, +1

MrCravon
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Re: How often do you use presets?

Post by MrCravon » Fri Jun 06, 2014 4:55 am

Airyck wrote:You are not a beautiful unique snowflake. Once you realize that and get over yourself, life will be much easier :P
Initially this cracked me up. However, later I found myself fully clothed in a fetal position in the shower crying whilst listening to Christina Aguilera's Beautiful rethinking my life. :P

But seriously, thanks a lot to everyone for inputs. I am going to take a step out of my comfort zone and try using more presets as starting point.
SLEEarts wrote:I find the argument that it's somehow not legit to use presets to be silly. Did Bach and Mozart build all of the orchestral instruments they used in their music? Jeez.
This comment really made me think! Thanks! Profound thought process was started here.
re:dream wrote: I think if you design all your sounds yourself you clearly have a lot of control over your timbral palette

It is a style of making music that is well suited to people who want to make more abstract, avant garde, technical and experimental music.

If you want to make edgy, experimental music that is about exploring sound textures etc etc then designing your own presets might be the logical place to start.

If you hear a tune in your head and you want to get it out to the masses, then using existing presets is the way to go.

Some of my most successful tunes (= the ones I like the most) started with me playing with parameters and designing a sound from scratch. But then many of the backing / accompanying sounds were stock ones.
When it comes to "hear a tune in your head" this is almost never the case with me. I usually get inspired by some sound. Maybe I hear a really nice kick drum sample and think "Wow! I have to do something with this." Or maybe I throw some sampled sound in to Harmor and resample and sculpt it completly until i finally get to a point where again I think "Wow, I Like this". Or just knotting around in some VST synth or on one of my HW synths. Making those awesome sounds is really fun and rewarding. The hard part I find is having the discipline to finish the whole song arrangement after the "hook" is finished.

Thanks a lot for all the input folks!

eyeknow
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Re: How often do you use presets?

Post by eyeknow » Fri Jun 06, 2014 5:35 am

I remember remarking once on someones song "I know that preset" and then they responded "yeah, but it's still really bitchen"

True words.

If it sounds cool, it is cool. How many popular songs all sound the same? Most? It's ok to use presets. If you like it and it fits what you are doing, then just go for it.

On the other hand, if you like tweaking......FUCK YEAH! I say do it!

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